Public Outreach

Cooperative Public Education Projects

One of CSAV's primary missions is to educate the public about the hazards resulting from volcanic eruptions. The Coop grant allows us to do this through seminars, displays, exhibits, and visits to community and school groups.

Images here include the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Open House held in January 2003. At this event, CSAV set up a display, titled "Where's the Lava Going to Go," which included demonstrations with model volcanoes: one with baking soda-and-vinegar eruptions for the youngsters, and a plastic raised-relief model of the Big Island for everyone. Molasses "lava flows" were placed at various locations on the rift zones of the Big Island's active volcanoes for the latter model, demonstrating how topography influences the path a lava flow will take. Most visitors were interested in the status of Mauna Loa, and discussions revolved around USGS maps showing lava flow ages, as well as new computer-based developments at HVO for deducing the path a lava flow would take based on its point of origin on the rift zone.

Kids dress up in silver suits
Visitors love to try on the protective gear worn by volcanologists.
A student looks at rocks using a magnifying glass
A student looks at minerals using a magnifying glass.
Monopoly houses get inundated with vinegar
Vinegar poured onto a mix of baking soda flows towards Monopoly houses on a plaster volcano.
Student pours vinegar on a model volcano
David Carvalho helps a visitor pour vinegar onto a model volcano.

Back in 2004, there was strong interest in the significance and implications of Mauna Loa’s inflationary activity. Consequently, CSAV organized and executed a series of public symposia with presentations by HVO staff on Mauna Loa’s prior eruptive activity, the measures that HVO were taking to track changes in the state of unrest of the volcano, and projections of the expected sequence of events that were likely to occur prior to future Mauna Loa eruptions.  The symposia were well received by the public.

Following the October 2006 Kiholo Bay earthquake, CSAV organized a series of public meetings in North Hawaii; at each meeting, HVO’s Scientist-in-Charge Jim Kauahikaua described the science of the earthquakes, Civil Defense Director Troy Kindred described the role of CD, and CSAV’s Director Don Thomas explained simple measures homeowners could take to strengthen their homes against future earthquakes.

CSAV also distributed literature and an array of hazards awareness and preparedness information at a range of public functions including: Onizuka Day at UH Hilo (a function intended to attract intermediate and secondary school students to study of the sciences), Builder’s Expo, Hawaiʻi County Fair, Boy Scouts troop meetings, Salvation Army Career Day, Waimea Healthy Keiki Fest, Saint Joseph Hawaiian Club, Hawaiʻi County Economic Opportunity Council Senior’s Meetings, and a variety of other sponsored functions around the island.

Under the Coop program, school visits are offered annually to all public schools on the Big Island to make presentations on volcanic and other hazards that occur on the Big Island. Sean O’Neill, CSAV Natural Hazards Outreach Coordinator, specializes in visiting 4th grade classes to describe earthquake and tsunami hazards.